KAMPALA – The State Minister for Energy, Simon D’Ujanga had finally admitted that the 32 companies procured as sub-contractors in the implementation of electricity connection project in all sub-counties across the country were not suitable for the task.
D’Ujanga who was accompanied by officials from Rural Electrification Agency made the confession while appearing before the Parliamentary Natural Resources Committee that is investigating the deadlock surrounding the TBEA project meant to connect close to 600 sub-counties to the national power grid.
“The project commencement date hasn’t been achieved, this is due to delayed site handover. The procurement of sites for four regional stores were opened on 11th October 2019, the valuation process should follow shortly thereafter. There is a possibility of completing the project within two years,” said D’Ujanga.
It should be recalled that the government secured a loan worth Shs881Bn from the Chinese Exim Bank, but the project has failed to take off due to procurement queries and internal disagreements among senior officials within the Ministry.
The MPs were further upset after the Minister told the Committee that the completion date for the project had been extended from 2020 to now 2022, with matters being worsened when Parliament learnt from the Executive Director of the Rural Electrification Agency, Godfrey Turyahikayo that the 32 subcontracted companies for this project include inexperienced subcontractors.
Turyahikayo said that even when the Rural Electrification Agency cautioned TBEA the main contractor on the inexperienced subcontractors, the company remained adamant.
He explained, “The contractor hasn’t conformed to our earlier requirement based on experience. The reason being that for the reason the contractor decided upon, they haven’t been able to attract contractors with experience. So most of the contractors as seen here are contractors coming to start-up in the business and basically, they want to get some mileage to get some work done. Right from the start, negotiating with the contractor to try and attract subcontractors with better experience and qualification, the contractor is adamant that this is diplomatic.”
Now, a section of MPs including Guma Gumisiriza (Ibanda North) and Wilberforce Yagama (Kashari North) called for a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni saying the anomalies shrouding the contract is likely to jeopardize the implementation of the project and also put taxpayers’ money at risk.